Amid a swirl of Phillies rumors, Dansby Swanson is an under-the-radar name.
Philadelphia Phillies fans have been driven into a frenzy as the Major League Baseball hot stove heats up. Who will they sign? Trea Turner? Xander Bogaerts? Carlos Correa?
Or perhaps, the Phillies will sign another name that has not been mentioned on the front page quite as often — longtime Atlanta Braves shortstop, Dansby Swanson, given a recent rumor:
Swanson had quietly become a good player in his seven-year Braves tenure. His impressive nine defensive runs saved were the catalyst to his first-ever Gold Glove Award this past year. He is considered the best defender of the four, ranking in the 100th percentile in MLB with a +21 Outs Above Average.
Always portrayed as a defense-oriented shortstop, Swanson’s bat has come alive in the past few seasons. His .277 batting average, 96 RBI, and 18 stolen bases were all career-highs in 2022.
One thing about Swanson’s game that has elevated entirely has been his power. The only shortstops to hit 25-plus home runs in the past two seasons are Swanson and Willy Adames of the Milwaukee Brewers. Swanson’s days of being a liability in the lineup are no more.
What is most impressive about Swanson is his incredible durability. Since the beginning of the 2020 season, he has missed only one game. He played 160 games in 2021, but the Braves only played 161 games in their World Series-winning season due to a rainout. Additionally, his 1,433 innings played at shortstop in 2022 were the third most of any player in the past 10 years. Playing every game is practically unheard of nowadays in MLB, with players making trips to the injured list left and right.
One projection has Swanson receiving a contract for six years and $150 million. He would not be cheap for the Phillies, and that is not the type of money a team gives out as a fallback. If Swanson lands in Philadelphia, he was likely higher up in Dave Dombrowski’s priority list between Bogaerts and Correa.
With Bryce Harper expected to miss a few months due to his UCL injury, the Phillies will need to stay afloat in the standings while the former MVP recovers. It is vital that whoever they sign can win them games — and there is no question that Swanson can.
By no means is Swanson in the tier of a player like Turner — and he likely never will be. It is not often that you can find a five-tool player in his prime on the free-agent market. However, there is nothing wrong with the Phillies searching for other options if Turner signs elsewhere.
Perhaps Swanson can provide Philadelphia some of the magic he had during the Braves’ 2021 World Series run.